It wasn’t until 2016 that Walmart broke into ecommerce with its $3 billion acquisition of online retail site Jet. The move was widely considered a direct effort to compete with Amazon, which by then had surpassed Walmart as the U.S.’s biggest retailer.
In May of 2020, due to “continued strength of the Walmart brand” and what analysts attributed to financial losses and operations issues amid the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart discontinued Jet and refocused its ecommerce development on Walmart.com.
At the time of the announcement, there was uncertainty over whether Walmart could compete in the ecommerce field. Today, it seems much more likely that it will become a go-to destination for online shoppers.
Here’s some promising evidence: while Walmart’s in-store customer base (53% of U.S. consumers) still leads that of its online store, the latter has risen 13% since 2020. Overall, Walmart.com is now the third-most-shopped retailer in the U.S., beating out other industry giants like Target, eBay, and Costco.
Furthermore, Walmart saw high year-over-year growth during the 2020 holiday season, with its Black Friday and Cyber Monday events boosting Q4 sales 124% from 2019. Toys and Electronics were Walmart’s strongest categories, earning a combined $85 million in sales between November 26 and November 30, 2020.